Trending »

TWO POEMS – Gina Antonia

on November 22 | in Poetry | by | with No Comments

By the time my father is eighteen,
my grandmother had been psychiatrically committed five times.
My grandfather would pack her in the car –
the bags under her eyes heavier than those in the backseat.
She never learned how to drive herself, you know –
the bridges would have been too tempting.
Sometimes, she didn’t know whether the voices telling her
she was worthless were coming from her heart or her husband –
we were told you sacrifice one for the other. We were told –
Italians are passionate people, you know –
Someone screaming at you is the ultimate form of flattery.


We were told –
The best mothers are selfless.
The best mothers deny themselves.
The best mothers make sure the fridge is stocked before
they lie down for three days. My grandmother underwent
shock treatment, over and over again,
to try to steady her stomach to return to a home
where she was expected to fill everyone else’s –
despite herself running on empty since she was a teenager.
At the end of her life in the hospital,
the doctors stopped giving her the benzodiazepines
that had allowed her to leave the house for the last 60 years.
She screamed at the top of her lungs: “please just let me die.”
What we didn’t realize was she had been screaming that for 60 years.

We couldn’t save her from the trappings, from the bounds,
of the kind of generational suffering that we thought
would go away once she arrived on the boat.
It didn’t.
The only thing we could do for her was allow her the ecstasy
of a temporary loss of consciousness through repeated shocks
to her brain. While she had to beg and grovel to access that ecstasy,
I honored her memory
by losing consciousness every few days.
I lapped up opiates, drank until my body revolted,
slept with strangers who sent shock waves through my psyche,
ate all the things she never allowed for herself
before ripping open my esophagus to dispose of the pleasure –
you know, the kind that makes my bloodline recoil.
As I laid in a facility at 20 years old,
itching, itching, itching at the imaginary bugs crawling all over me
in the midst of withdrawal –
withdrawal from temporary loss of consciousness –
I screamed at the top of my lungs: “please just let me die.”
Mee Ma -I tried to break the cycle, I really did,


but the bridges nearly got me, too.




You see – you wouldn’t need to protect me
if you weren’t all trying to kill me.
To the man who boldly exclaimed that rape
statistics were exaggerated and women lied –
we all lie – before gently and tearfully pulling
me aside to talk about his own PTSD –
I’m so sorry you’ve been failed
by the same system I have. I’m so sorry your tears
haven’t been captured in the statistics –
But I can’t be expected to hold you up, to comfort you,
to affirm you, when you’ve pinned me
to the ground while your friends trampled me.
Toxic masculinity is a form of victimhood, I imagine –
But you said you don’t believe victims.
The most insidious thing is you know
you don’t have to kill me to make me dead.
Gina Antonia is a poet, performer, and social worker currently based in Seattle, WA after having lived and accumulated stories in Minnesota, Florida, Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. She has previously been published with Read or Green Books, and performed with Inspired Word NYC, the Nuyorican Poets Café, and the Barbed Wire Open Mic Series. Her writing largely focuses on trauma, identity, liberation, and shame.

Pin It

Related Posts

« »

Recent Posts



[new_royalslider id="17"] Ana Flores is a sculptor and ecologist. Her work is informed by how pla

Safia Elhilo

2 Poems

Michele Robinson\'s Art [...]

Let Me Straddle Your Mind

X.J. Kennedy

The Crusader

Why did you leave bring m [...]

Yeah bring our electric shaver back, I bought it we shaved each others back it was important to me

Kwame Dawes

Kwame Dawes

BEFORE YOU – Kwame  [...]

1 Yes, we were country, lived in shotgun shacks, where the road loses its way to dirt and live


[new_royalslider id="11"] Courtesy of the artist and Mizuma Art Gallery  


         "Feminism is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to lea


Junot' Diaz and Edison, NJ


The first time we try to deliver the Gold Crown the lights are on in the house but no on

Rachel Eliza Griffiths [...]

Elegy & Poem

The March on Washington:  [...]

OTHER WORLD: A Conversati [...]

"We are all the other."


…and find inside a picture, of myself as a child, sitting on a small chair, wearing overalls an

Naive Paintings

Raphael Perez


To Alex, on turning two Some say the Ring of Brogar is the Circle of the Moon. There is n

In This Issue

March on Washington An Interview with Cheryl Evans


In a strange twist of what seemed like reverse vandalism, the Graffiti Mecca was painted over.

In This Issue

Forest Gander A Translation

In This Issue

Quassan Castro, poem Grandson to Grandmother

URBAN CANVAS: Wynwood Wal [...]

Wynwood Walls, of Miami has been called "a Museum of the Streets."

Pulaski Skyway

Low like the mean dream of Newark the sky must have seemed to its builders. Rickety now, unhingin


At last, the extremes of his present methods seemed to offer the happiest avenues. The strengthe

Paul Latorre

5th Limb Poems

Joan Larkin

Poem, Knot

Gina Loring, Def Poetry [...]

Poem, Look This Way

In This Issue

Xue Du, Poem


A woman      in a black kimono      dyed black hair disappeared      behind a black curtai

Marge Piercy

Poem: Behind the War On Women

Naive Paintings

Raphael Perez

Marie Miazziotti -Gillam [...]

Maria Mizzotti-Gillan

Vicky Dantel

Short Story

In This Issue

Pilar Fraile Amador poem

Quassan Castro


Lugensky Durosier [...]

Lady Haiti

In This Issue

David Trinidad

In This Issue

Landzy Theodore

In This Issue

Angelo Nikolopoulos

Scroll to top